Jan 15, 2015
RosBREED renewed for another five years

A national team of scientists working on genomics, genetics and breeding of rosaceous crops has been awarded funds for the first year of a $10 million, five-year USDA competitive grant. The team will develop and apply modern DNA-based tools to deliver new cultivars with superior quality and disease resistance.

This award from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s Specialty Crop Research Initiative will be managed by Project Director Amy Iezzoni of Michigan State University. She and co-Director Cameron Peace, Washington State University, will lead a group of 35 scientists from 14 U.S. institutions along with numerous international cooperators.

Titled “RosBREED: Combining Disease Resistance with Horticultural Quality in New Rosaceous Cultivars,” the project will adapt and demonstrate new DNA-based tools in 22 U.S. breeding programs, focusing on eight crops: apple, blackberry, peach, pear, rose, strawberry, sweet cherry and tart cherry. RosBREED brings unprecedented attention to local and regional breeding programs and a commitment to more efficiently, accurately and creatively develop commercial scion and rootstock cultivars.

The team will build on the foundation established in the preceding RosBREED project, adding key new scientists and targeting diseases stakeholders across the country have identified as key challenges. Using modern DNA tools, U.S. breeders will be able to more rapidly develop cultivars with disease resistance combined with superior horticultural quality. Producers will have more options to sustainably protect their crops, while consumers and the entire supply chain will directly benefit from products with better taste, nutrition, keeping ability and appearance, according to a RosBREED press release.

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